Thursday, April 25, 2024
NewsBaltimore Bridge Collapse Will Have Long-Lasting Impact on New Vehicle Supply

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Will Have Long-Lasting Impact on New Vehicle Supply

Port of Baltimore shut after major bridge collapse

  • Largest new vehicle port in U.S. blocked by bridge collapse

  • Cargo ship lost power, struck piling


Seven people are missing as a key transport link in Baltimore has fallen. The Francis Scott Key Bridge was struck by a cargo ship early this morning and collapsed into the Patapsco River. It will have huge effects on the city, but will also cause massive problems for the new car market as the largest auto port facility in the U.S. appears closed for the forseeable future.

Baltimore Fire Chief James Wallace told reporters this morning that two construction workers were rescued from the frigid waters while searches were ongoing for at least seven more. The Francis Scott Key Bridge tumbled into the river after being struck by the Dali, a 95,000-ton container ship chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk and headed from the Port of Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Port of Baltimore is the number one port in the U.S. for shipping cars and trucks into the country. The port’s facilities handle nearly 800,000 vehicles every year from European, domestic, and Japanese automakers. Google images of the facility show models from Stellantis, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Kia, and more.

With the port officially closed until further notice, all nautical traffic into and out of the port has stopped. At least one car-carrying vessel, the RCC Classic, is already at anchor awaiting to dock at the port. The port has multiple docks where vehicles can embark and disembark on roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels, but all but one are inside the section of the port blocked by the collapsed bridge.

The port is not a major container port, handling just a small fraction of what the Port of New York and New Jersey handled. Other East Coast ports can likely handle these container volumes. As the largest port for handling vehicles as well as farm and construction machinery, that impact will be much more difficult to work around.

Automakers have not yet made statements about how they’re planning to handle the disruptions, but with the supply of new vehicles already small, expect even more shortages and, likely, price increases to come.

 

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